News / Middle East

Egyptian Blogger Convicted of Insulting President Morsi

Police guard Egyptian activist Ahmed Douma (C), who is seen behind bars, during his trial at the New Cairo court, on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, June 3, 2013.
Police guard Egyptian activist Ahmed Douma (C), who is seen behind bars, during his trial at the New Cairo court, on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, June 3, 2013.
Reuters
A high-profile Egyptian blogger and activist was sentenced to six months in jail on Monday for insulting President Mohamed Morsi, in what campaigners said was the first major conviction in a legal crackdown on critics.

More than 100 of Ahmed Douma's supporters filled the courtroom in a Cairo suburb and chanted slogans against the Islamist president during the hearing.

“It's clear that the government is trying to threaten activists with these cases,” said one of his lawyers, Ali Soliman.

Douma, found guilty of calling the president a criminal and a murderer in media interviews, was allowed to pay 5,000 Egyptian pounds [$720] bail to stay out of prison pending an appeal, according to Soliman.

Morsi, voted in after a popular revolt ousted his predecessor Hosni Mubarak in 2011, has dismissed accusations by rights groups that his government and allies want to crush dissent.

But one Egyptian campaign group has said in a report two dozen cases of “insulting the president” were brought in the first 200 days of Morsi's rule - four times as many as during Mubarak's 30 years in power.

“The irony is that the president elected after the 25 January revolution is still maintaining the same restrictive laws that have been in place for decades,” said Gamal Soltan, political science professor at the American University in Cairo.

Douma was arrested on April 30 on charges of insulting the president in the aftermath of deadly clashes in February between locals and police in the Suez Canal city of Port Said.

Morsi has pointed to his banning of pre-trial detention of journalists as proof of his commitment to a free press, though his government has not amended laws with a wide scope for prosecution on grounds of defamation.

“The main problem is the penal code,” said Heba Morayef, Egypt director of the New York-based Human Rights Watch, after the case.

“It allows citizens to be locked up for expression-related crimes,” punishing citizens for “legitimate political criticism of the authorities,” she added.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid